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Season Preview: Liverpool embark into unchartered territory

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Even though we are the Premier League champions and while the times are glorious, there is an element of unfamiliarity that comes with it. Not just on the pitch, but in the stands as well.

Jordan Henderson made all our feelings of impatience and frustration go away in an instant, as he lifted the crown-topped trophy above his head on that faithful summers evening of July 22nd, embedding manager Jurgen Klopp into the fabric of Anfield.

Deep down, it was a matter of when, not if, we would win our first league title in 30 years after we were so far ahead of Manchester City before the unscheduled break in proceedings. On our return to action, we needed just six points to make it certain. When Pep Guardiola’s side failed to beat Chelsea, all was confirmed.

Every year, it has always been the question of whether we can win our first domestic crown for so long. But now, the tables will turn on us for the first time in my lifetime.

But the boss always says the right things at the right time. He vowed to “attack” the title, not just defend it. His typical heavy-metal style of thinking.

This filled me with optimism, but the thought of going into our title defence without providing sufficient reinforcements to our squad is a concern, considering the defensive injuries we had last season.

As of Thursday, Kostas Tsimikas was the only signing that we had made. With Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana leaving, no moves have been taken to fill the voids. Maybe we have something going on in the background, who knows.

Of course, this has a dramatic effect on our preparations and how we could potentially perform during the season, taking all aspects of next season’s potential scenarios into account.

Premier League prediction: 2nd

Unless something dramatically changes in the next few months, we could be playing catch up with our potential title rivals. Chelsea have been splashing the cash like it is eroding in front of Roman Abramovich’s very eyes.

Having spent approximately £200m on six major signings, the Blues are not messing around. With Frank Lampard’s side signing both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, two hotly-contested transfer targets of ours, they are on more than just a mission.

Manchester City haven’t been as busy but their signings have been interesting, to say the least. Ferran Torres looks like a solid addition, while they overspent to bring Nathan Ake in from relegated Bournemouth. Of course, if they perform, then the price tag goes out of the window. Whether he can become a leader like Vincent Kompany was, is doubtful at this stage.

Realistically, both of those teams are our title rivals. Chelsea will have to make sure that their new additions can gel into the current playing squad. Otherwise, they will repeat what we did back in 2014/15, lots of signings with little improvement.

I believe Manchester City will win the title while we will only just miss out, as it stands. Chelsea will need some time to work on their team’s chemistry. I will be shocked if they click immediately.

Domestic trophies prediction: FA Cup win

A club like ours should always have a minimum target of one trophy per season. In recent years, we have opted not to take these sort of competitions so seriously. But this season, I feel that there will be a change.

Young players coming through such as Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott will be allowed to show what they have to offer once more in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.

With the two trophies mentioned being the only ones not in Klopp’s collection, I believe that the German tactician will bring those competitions to the forefront, and tackle them head-on to complete his collection.

Champions League prediction: Semi-finals

How nice would it be to say that we are seven-time Champions League winners, level with AC Milan. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will get that far to earn that accolade. That being said, reaching the semi-finals is no disappointing feat.

While we are strong in European competitions, if the current squad remains as it is throughout the season, I don’t think we will have enough in our lockers to deal with all of the threats that head our way.

Atletico Madrid found us out last year. Playing a defensive counter-attack system that bamboozled us on our emotional return to the Wanda Metropolitano. With the same team, it will be difficult to find our way around a similar tactic going forward.

Saying that, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino have come to the fold and feel like new signings themselves. Both players have been performing well during the back end of last season and could prove to be an influence on club football’s biggest stage.

Bear in mind, I have derived these predictions based on our current transfer activity. I still believe that we lack strength in depth in certain areas to win the big trophies. My view will change, for instance, if Thiago comes in. Or if we make a significant signing at either centre-back or on the wing.

A football season is always long. So much can happen on the journey. Strap yourselves in Reds.

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